Timing of Thoracic Radiotherapy in Limited Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer: Results of Early Versus Late Irradiation from a Single Institution in Turkey


Background: It is standard treatment to combine chemotherapy (CT) and thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) in treating patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC). However, optimal timing of TRT is unclear. We here evaluated the survival impact of early versus late TRT in patients with LS-SCLC. Materialsand
Methods: Follow-up was retrospectively analyzed for seventy consecutive LS-SCLC patients who had successfully completed chemo-TRT between January 2006 and January 2012. Patients received TRT after either 1 to 2 cycles of CT (early TRT) or after 3 to 6 cycles of CT (late TRT). Survival and response rates were evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method and comparisons were made using the multivariate Cox regression test.
Results: Median follow-up was 24 (5 to 57) months. Carboplatin+etoposide was the most frequent induction CT (59%). Median overall, disease free, and metastasis free survivals in all patients were 15 (5 to 57), 5 (0 to 48) and 11 (3 to 57) months respectively. Late TRT was superior to early TRT group in terms of response rate (p=0.05). 3 year overall survival (OS) rates in late versus early TRT groups were 31% versus 17%, respectively (p=0.03). Early TRT (p=0.03), and incomplete response to TRT (p=0.004) were negative predictors of OS. Significant positive prognostic factors for distant metastasis free survival were late TRT (p=0.03), and use of PCI (p=0.01). Use of carboplatin versus cisplatin for induction CT had no significant impact on OS (p=0.634), DFS (p=0.727), and MFS (p=0.309).
Conclusions: Late TRT appeared to be superior to early TRT in LS-SCLC treatment in terms of complete response, OS and DMFS. Carboplatin or cisplatin can be combined with etoposide in the induction CT owing to similar survival outcomes.